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May 31, 2007

Comparing e-book platforms

This post on davidrothman.net links to an article at Against the Grain comparing four medical ebook vendors. The comparison chart is online.

Posted by janeblum at 10:33 AM | Comments (1)

May 30, 2007

Update on hospital reimbursement for GME

The Chronicle: Daily news: 05/30/2007 -- 04: Tucked Into an Emergency Spending Bill, a Reprieve for Teaching Hospitals

A one year moratorium on cuts in federal funds for residency and other post-graduate training at teaching hospitals.

Posted by janeblum at 10:08 AM | Comments (1)

May 29, 2007

Of interest

Main Page Summary - WikiSummaries, free book summaries

Collaboratively written summaries of fiction and non-fiction books, including some of interest professionally as well as best-sellers

Posted by janeblum at 09:26 AM | Comments (0)

May 25, 2007

FYI - online update on PODCASTING

Stephen's Lighthouse: What’s New in Podcasting?

Since many of you have been experimenting with podcasting, you might find this of interest.

Posted by janeblum at 03:29 PM

More Not-Good News

The Chronicle: Daily news: 05/25/2007 -- 04: Teaching Hospitals Could Lose $1.8-Billion Under Proposed Medicaid Cuts

For forty years, Medicaid has support Medicaid with indirect payments for GME.

"The government's Medicare and Medicaid programs have historically promised a steady supply of money to help teaching hospitals educate medical residents and partially compensate them for the higher costs of treating sicker patients and offering expensive, specialized services like burn units and trauma centers. In addition, hospitals that train physicians are inherently less efficient: "It takes longer to care for patients in a team setting where learning is taking place," Ms. Davis Boyle said."

That may change now, with expensive consequences for teaching hospitals and residency programs.

Posted by janeblum at 09:52 AM | Comments (0)

The Ultimate Distributed Computer

Today's Chronicle of Higher Ed had blogged an interesting article, The Chronicle: Wired Campus Blog: Saving Books by Solving Puzzles, about an interesting application for CAPTCHAS (those annoying, garbled boxes that ask you to "type the letters you see in the box").

For animal lovers and those of you who are more visually oriented, here's a link to another version of the idea: ASIRRA

Posted by janeblum at 09:28 AM | Comments (0)

May 24, 2007

You'll see a familiar face in this article's photograph

Staff convene to celebrate two years of VOICES

We've all enjoyed Anna's reports from and about Voices, and she's certainly an appropriate member to illustrate participation in the program!

Posted by janeblum at 01:09 PM | Comments (1)

May 05, 2007

Blog from "The Journal of Dissident Librarianship"

On Competition, Creativity & Credibility

In the good olde days of the Internet (say 1995 - 2000) the library profession used to teach courses on how to evaluate a good website - things like clear statements of responsibility, the "authority" of the producer of the information, how often things were updated, etc. It made sense because it used to be fairly hard to publish content on the Web, and harder still to have much of it and keep it up to date. Doing so at all was a pretty good sign you were earnest and cared, and if people could get ahold of you with suggestions or corrections you were golden. (While ideas like HONcode were good ones I'm not so sure I really believe they ever did much to make or break a health website - good design and updated content seemed far more important).

Fast forward a few years and suddenly the ability to create and maintain a website becomes much easier, esp. with the advent of blogs. Even building a database-driven site (usually necessary for large amounts of content) became more trivial with the availability of open source scripting and database tools (i.e. PHP and MySQL). Then several years later some clever people started adding more interactivity and dynamism to websites with things like AJAX and Flash, which made websites start to act and look more like desktop applications. Suddenly what people had been saying years ago about websites supplanting their competitors, even desktop application competitors, started to come true. Upstart companies came out of nowhere and wound up changing entire businesses (witness the decimation of the travel agent when sites like Travelocity, Orbitz and Priceline really caught on).

Libraries and other information providers haven't been used to competition, and are finding it hard to adjust. Some clever programmers have come up with websites which provide the sorts of information tools libraries or library vendors used to provide exclusively. Often these new tools work "better" than traditional ones in the sense of being more intuitive, up to date, etc etc. Some tools provide reference-type information (i.e. Google Maps) while others provide library-like services for individuals rather than libraries (i.e. LibraryThing). These newer tools may not be as robust and authoritative as the older tools but they work, they work fast and they work painlessly - in short they provide a good user experience.

The future of library applications is, hopefully, going to be in a sweet spot between all the fun and easy to use interface things you see in "Library 2.0" and the more structured, robust, authoritative tools we've known and loved as a profession for years. I find it ironic that in the years prior to fast, cheap computing power and unlimited storage space librarians did an excellent job structuring data and providing some level of control, or at least good ideas for where large data sets could get unwieldy. In short we thought like computers before computers were ready for us - making data clean and interoperable and thinking ahead to prevent problems with systems that wouldn't scale. Now that cheap ubiquitous computing is here we're sort of asleep at the wheel, letting our lunch get eaten by people who do good programming and sometimes good interfaces but haven't thought ahead to what happens when their neat mashup becomes the next big thing. Looks like a perfect opportunity to me - combine the energy and new ideas with some way of making the thing scale and work together with other tools and systems (and making sure we bring our vendors along for the ride) so we can "leapfrog each other" and come up with easy to use, fun but useful and robust systems. What the Michigan Public Library system did by building a new interface on top of their ratty old OPAC's core system (same thing at NC State) is a good paradigm shift in my book - and eventually we can get rid of the old legacy systems underneath when they're no longer needed. An OPAC makes a great back end but a terrible front end in my experience - let's use the best of both worlds so we can have friendly competition, creativity and credibility.
posted by abarclay @ 10/21/06 1:35 PM 0 comments

Posted by schnitzr at 06:31 PM | Comments (1)

May 02, 2007

New Resource available from UM

The Chronicle: Daily News Blog: Web Site Offers New Clearinghouse on Issues of Academic Work and Life

Posted by janeblum at 12:07 PM | Comments (1)

May 01, 2007


Found this in a message on MEDLIB-L from Dean Giustini:

Supposedly, this is a personalized medical search created by doctors for everyone ("for informational purposes only"). Take a look. Dean says that he would blog on it but his blog is on semi-hiatus.


Posted by schnitzr at 10:26 AM | Comments (0)